On March 21, 2016, Brett Permutter, Google’s head of operations in Cuba, and the Cuban artist Alexis “Kcho” Leyva opened an online technology center at the artist’s studio with the participation of the U.S. technology giant.
The center is equipped with 20 Chromebook laptops, an exclusive brand of the U.S. company designed to work with virtual information via the internet, hence it has no storage devices.
Google also supplied about 100 cardboards, virtual-reality goggles for cell phones (Nexus 5), and two live streaming cameras.
Permutter said that the steps taken at the center named Google + Kcho.MOR are the first signs of the company’s presence in Cuba, while Kcho described the initiative as a magical moment.
Weeks later, the Cuban sculptor had the Romerillo Organic Museum (MOR) in western Havana open its doors for a special re-inauguration of the technology center for the people who will directly benefit from the cooperation.
Ever since the opening, dozens of people have been filling the center, which is similar to a cybercafé but has been designed with educational goals and is an extension of one of the artist’s studios.
For Kcho, this project is about the recovery of time lost in terms of new technologies in a country which, in spite of difficulties, is very knowledgeable about these matters.
Under these conditions it is now possible to access new forms of telling the Cuban reality through art and technology, with internet at speeds nearly 70 times faster than those now available in Cuba.
In his interviews, Kcho has reiterated the importance of having live educational experiences that can in turn become tools to continue rejecting the U.S. blockade against Cuba.
In fact, the center stands as the first step in overcoming those barriers through a collective network with the password “Down with the blockade.”
Being a place with free internet in Cuba, Google + Kcho.MOR will enable the exchange with professionals from other universities in real time, whilst also being able to give and receive conferences to and from other places in the world, among other options.
Despite the technological restrictions imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the new medium will allow for the digitalization of MOR and, above all, for the development of responsible cooperation.Share on FB Share on TT